Delta Airlines Cracks Down on 'Emotional Service Pets' Allowed on Flights

Many are applauding the move. 

Delta Airlines has seen a 84% increase in accidents involving fake service animals since 2016. There have been serious maulings, cases of the service animal defecating or urinating on the flight, and altercations between other service animals on the flight. Delta announced that they will be issuing tighter regulations for passengers traveling with their pets.

Starting March 1, passengers traveling with pets that are emotional support animals or service animals must prove that the animal is used to flying on an airplane and can behave during the flight. They must also provide health and vaccination records for their animal and a signed letter from a doctor proving the animal is a legitimate service or support animal.

"The rise in serious incidents involving animals in flight leads us to believe that the lack of regulation in both health and training screening for these animals is creating unsafe conditions across US air travel," John Laughter, Delta's senior vice president for corporate safety, security, and compliance, said in a statement.

Guide dog is helping bilnd people in motion blur

Many people have been abusing the service animal loophole, claiming that their pet is a comfort animal in order to get them to fly for free. Delta has seen passengers bring everything from llamas to turkeys, snakes, and possums onto flights.

The airline has made it clear it will not allow particular animals on flights any longer, no matter if they are technically an emotional support animal. These animals include:

  • Hedgehogs
  • Ferrets
  • Insects
  • Rodents
  • Snakes
  • Spiders
  • Gliding Possums
  • Reptiles
  • Amphibians
  • Goats
  • Poultry
  • Horned Animals
  • Hooved Animals

Travelling cat

Service animals go through stringent requirements to become properly trained. They must perform specific tasks for their owner's disability. Emotional service animals, on the other hand, don't have nearly as strict requirements and pet owners can get a vest and a certificate easily online. There are no federal regulations restricting emotional service pets on flights and pet owners have been abusing this loophole more and more over the past couple of years.

You know you have seen an animal on a plane that doesn't belong there...

Hopefully Delta's new requirements will deter fake service animals from being allowed on flights. Only animals that provide a true service to their disabled owner should be allowed to travel in the cabin.

What do you think about Delta's new requirements? Tell us in the comments below. 

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